MISSING LINK, RESEARCH, BLOOPERS
Q: I’m having difficulty researching the field I want to enter. The idea of developing a list of 20 organizations to contact is ridiculous. There’s no easy way to find them, because directories don’t list them. Also, search engines aren’t returning them for leads. How do I move from Point A to point B?
A: You have resources at your fingertips.
Find a business librarian to show you how to use Google effectively. Get help with search terms to pull up what you want. Keep hunting for a list of companies in your area of interest.
Meanwhile, don’t follow the conventional advice about 20 companies. Find three. Call potential employers to rise above the masses of emailers. Before each call, practice what you’ll say about what you’re doing so you’re clear and direct.
Make certain you walk away from each conversation with at least one lead. These people are in your market or closer to it than you are. Ask this simple question: “If you were in my shoes, what would you try next?” Go away; think about what you heard; turn even suggestions that miss into new tactics to try.
Q: I haven’t had any offers. In interviews, employers ask about a skill I don’t have. It’s not one I could get anywhere but on the job. I’ve told them that I’m willing to learn, but people with the skill are lined up behind me. What else can I do to open the door?
A: You’ll be creative with several new tactics. First, convince employers that you’d bring significant benefits. Then say that you’d be willing to take a lesser salary until you get up to speed. Establish how long that would take so you don’t have a life-sentence of under-compensation. Get it in writing.
You could also find a tutor through local business resources or LinkedIn. If people are standing in line behind you, they’re out there, even if they’re not in formal education or training environments.
If these don’t work, do the unthinkable. Say that you’ll work as an intern for a specific period of time until you’ve mastered the skill. Get that in writing. A company that doesn’t value you after you’ve offered these alternatives may feel too rushed or not value employee development.
(Dr. Mildred Culp welcomes your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2014 Passage Media.)